Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. II

This film has huge charm and light humour. Groot is now a mascot, a sweet, toddler-sized shrub with huge luminous eyes, constant cheerfulness and a quiet child’s voice repeating “I am Groot”. Our heroes overcome overwhelming threat- vast armadas of spacecraft, a God who has made his own planet (“only the size of your Earth’s moon,” he says modestly) and a skyscraper sized Being from Another Dimension, which like all Beings from Another Dimension has lots of tentacles and teeth, and oceans of gloopy slime.


A ten year old boy will love lots in this, such as the penis jokes, indeed the many repetitions of the word “penis” in that segment. Characters played by adults, presenting as adults, flirt together like giggly ten year olds- “You’re disgusting! No, that’s good.” She does not understand, being alien, and he is horrible, then pretends to be nice then is horrible again. There’s a bomb that is going to destroy a planet, with a digital countdown mechanism whose countdown is used, straightforwardly, to increase tension.

The hero flirts in a more adult manner, but I feel this is aimed at a pre-pubescent audience who would not really understand. Eventually they decide the gang of Guardians are Family.

Yet there is a moment where a cubit-long missile flies round and back and around, going through the hearts of all the pirate crew in turn. Some we see as shadows with a bright red chemtrail passing through them in turn, but some we see with surprised looks on their faces, falling over, after the missile emerges from their chest. Even though I am used to mooks dying- they come round the corner guns blazing, the heroes shoot them- I was queasy after that. How would that ten year old see it? Would he cheer on the ally of the heroes, defeating his enemies? I did not enjoy all that death, and would not want him to, either.

At the start of it the missile came out of the 3D screen, pointing at the viewer. That was not the moment when the 3D made me flinch. I resent flinching. I know it is a film. I am too sophisticated to flinch.

They neither defer gratification, nor consider the down sides of their impulsive acts. Immediately after hearing the high priestess or queen or whatever of the gold-coloured people declare eternal enmity for someone who stole their “batteries”, one steals some batteries, just because he could. Sure enough, they are pursued with implacable hatred, which gives an excuse for the first space battle. Ships dart impossibly curvy courses with impossible near misses and bright coloured death rays. It is pretty as a firework display is pretty.

The bad guys are not difficult to identify, though one turns out to be a good guy who made some bad decisions, and the hero is misled and tempted by one for a while. I found the stardom of Chris Pratt more inexplicable than his presence in the otherwise hilarious Parks and Recreation.

I went with J to Hail Caesar, and when she came out she said “That was the weirdest film I’ve ever seen,” with her usual equanimity with a tincture of enthusiasm, which I took as positive. However, today she said it was dreadful, despite my praise of it. She is delighted by particular trailers, and GotG is not the most childish. Possibly The Mummy, whose trailer has a great deal of plot exposition, might suit us both, or possibly we should stop seeing films together.

All comments welcome.

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